Bust Holiday Stress

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By Ali Wetherbee

The holidays can be fun and magical and ever-so-memorable — but this busy time of year can also really stress your mind and body. From holiday shopping to fighting traffic, from being cooped up indoors with germs to being cooped up with the in-laws, there are countless hits to our time, our finances, our health, our peace and sanity. We don’t eat as well and don’t have time to exercise. All of this leaves us especially vulnerable to all those colds and flus going around. So before you wind up in bed with a box of tissues and a hot water bottle, try these ideas. 

In Your Medicine Cabinet:

Instead of toxic, chemical-laden medicines, stock your medicine cabinet with organic vitamins and herbs and homeopathic formulas. Take these daily, but especially when you are under unusual stress or already sick.

Start with Vitamin C

Whole Food Vitamin C belongs in every family’s medicine cabinet. Take it daily to keep your immune system functioning optimally, and begin taking it more frequently or in higher doses as soon as you feel something coming on. Vitamin C, when taken daily, can shorten the duration of the common cold. Taking one or two extra doses when symptoms first appear can thwart a cold before it really gets started! It also prevents and reverses free radical damage caused by oxidative stress, UV rays, and environmental toxins. Vitamin C is necessary for serotonin production, so this is a must-have for anyone suffering from depression or seasonal affective disorder.

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Adapt Better to Stress

Take adaptogens during intense periods of stress. Adaptogenic herbs help you adapt to physical and mental stress and keep the body in balance. They may be particularly useful if you are experiencing anxiety, fatigue, or depression as a result of stress or tension. Stress increases cortisol levels, which may lead to chronic inflammatory conditions, weight gain, fatigue, thyroid problems, hormonal imbalances, and illness. Adaptogens such as rhodiola and cordyceps lower high cortisol levels, minimizing the harmful effects of stress on the body.

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Get a Good Night’s Rest

Stress can disrupt your sleep/wake cycles, making it hard to fall asleep and sleep through the night. This leaves you even more prone to feeling stressed, and you wind up stuck in a vicious cycle. These all-natural formulas can ensure you get an adequate amount of sleep, whether you are up late wrapping gifts or at your company Christmas party past bedtime. Healthy sleep is critical to a healthy immune system, and those who get poor-quality or insufficient sleep are more likely to succomb to colds, flu, and viruses.

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Support Your Immune System with Antioxidnts

Take supplements loaded with antioxidants to keep your immune system in tip top shape. This is an excellent way to boost your body’s resistance to illness during this stressful time of year. Inadequate sleep, poor diet, stress, lack of exercise, increased exposure to germs, aging, and chronic health conditions can all leave you much more susceptible to illness, but these supplements strengthen the immune system, naturally.

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Treat Your Cold Naturally

If illness hits despite your best efforts, you will be glad to have a medicine cabinet stocked with healing herbs, vitamins, and supplements! Keep these items on hand for when you start to feel stuffy or achy. Sovereign Silver is a colloidal silver supplement that my family goes to whenever any of us has a cold. It can be taken every 2 hours or so to help kick the cold out before it gets a firm hold. Calm Balm is an all-natural alternative to petroleum-based chest rubs, and is great for colds, aches, and pains. Wedderspoon Manuka Honey Nuggets help soothe sore throats with organic antibacterial ingredients.

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‘Tis the Season to Stay Healthy!

Keeping healthy and fighting stress is not just a physical process. Every choice we make and each action we take can leave us more stressed or more relaxed, sicker or healthier. Try these tips to stay on track toward a healthier holiday season:

Learn to Say No

You do not need to attend every party or gathering you are invited to! Pick your favorites and skip the rest. The same goes for gift swaps among friends or at the office. Feel free to opt out of those that bring you more stress than pleasure.

Designate one day a week as a “day off” and avoid errands, shopping, planning, ordering, and organizing for the entire day. Instead, read a book, watch a movie, go for a walk, or do something else relaxing. If an entire day seems unrealistic, aim for at least one stress-free evening a week. 

Focus on the Important Things in Life

Spend time with your family. Your kids or grandkids won’t remember every present under the tree or how perfectly the gifts were wrapped, but they will remember the days spent baking cookies, playing games, building snowmen, and cuddling by the fire. Take time out each day to do something that builds memories.

Be grateful. At the end of the day, instead of thinking about all the things you didn’t get done, spend some time thinking about all the things you are thankful for. Keep a Gratitude Jar with scraps of paper for family members to write down each happy moment or blessing, and read through the papers every night at dinner. Bake cookies for someone who has helped you out sometime this year. Bring gifts or food to those who are less fortunate.

Get Plenty of Fresh Air and Exercise

Go for a jog before work or take an evening walk with the family to see neighborhood light displays. Enjoy winter sports such as sledding, skiing, snowboarding, and ice skating. Build a snow fort with the kids or have an improptu dance party. It’s fine to do your workout indoors if the cold is too harsh for you, but also bundle up in a blanket and sit on your front stoop for a few minutes with a hot cup of tea and breathe in the fresh air.

Nourish Your Soul

Engage in soul-friendly practices. While you’re sitting at a red light or stuck in traffic, take some deep breaths and relax your shoulders. When someone cuts you in line at the store or pushes you aside to grab the very last can of cranberry sauce, take some time to think loving, forgiving thoughts about this rude person. Be present and live in the moment instead of spending the entire holiday season tallying your mental lists. Practice yoga, mindfulness, or meditation. All of these things will reduce your stress load and leave you stronger, healthier, and happier.

Five Ways to De-Stress

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By Ali Wetherbee

Stress comes in many forms — home life, work, family, friends, drama, fun, finances, and more. Instead of focusing on the many burdens and challenges we each face, take some time to relax, unwind, and undo any damage all that stress may have done. Here are 5 ways to lower your stress level this month:

1. Exercise
Physical activity continues to be one of the top-recommended stress busters. It’s safe, and inexpensive, and improves not only stress and mood, but also overall health. If you haven’t been working out regularly or if the cold weather is driving you indoors, it may be hard to get into a good exercise routine. Try finding a workout buddy, setting some small goals, and choosing a form of exercise that you enjoy. These things will keep you more motivated to get moving.

2. Meditate
Meditation comes in many different forms; it doesn’t necessarily require you to sit silently with your eyes closed for hours on end. A quiet walk through the woods, during which you take time to notice everything you see, hear, and smell, can be both meditative and restorative. If you are new to meditating, a guided meditation can help you stay focused on relaxing. Those with anxiety or trouble staying still and quiet might find that yoga is a more appealing form of meditation.

3. Help Your Body Adapt
These supplements support our bodies in handling all kinds of stress. Adaptogenic herbs bring all systems of the body back into balance, lowering cortisol levels and regulating blood pressure, blood sugar, hormones, and cholesterol. Taking one or several of these adaptogens is a very simple step toward healing your body and feeling more at ease.

4. Don’t Forget to Breathe
When we are anxious or tense, we are more likely to either hold our breath or hyperventilate. This keeps the entire body on alert and in a state of non-stop stress. To correct this problem, practice deep breathing from the abdomen. One method many find helpful is 4-7-8 breathing. Inhale through your nose for a count of 4; hold this breath for 7 seconds. Then exhale through your mouth with a whooshing sound, for a count of 8.

5. Engage In Meaningful Activities
Sure, many of us find ourselves always busy and constantly in motion, but how many of those activities bring you true joy and a sense of peace? How many of them leave you feeling deeply fulfilled and socially connected? Often we get so caught up in obligations that we forget to take time to do the things we really love. A long chat with a dear friend over a cup of coffee, or an afternoon of digging in the dirt can help you leave your tensions behind. Commit to spending an hour this week enjoying your favorite hobby — whether that’s hiking a mountain, drawing, dancing, or playing an instrument.

Winterize Your Immune System

Keep healthy & enjoy rosy-cheeked rambles & merry meandering.

From now until November 30, receive 10% OFF immune boosters with coupon code: Ready4Winter

Winter is right around the corner and cold and flu season is already beginning. Don’t wind up in bed for days surrounded by tissues and heat packs! Get your immune system in tip-top shape with these whole food immune boosting supplements. Now is the time to start taking several of these if you aren’t already. While you can always increase the doses of most of your supplements at the first sniffle or sneeze, prevention goes much further in helping your body fight off germs and stay healthy.

Vitamin D

As cold, dark days force us to bundle up or stay inside, our sun exposure drops — and so do our vitamin D levels. Those living above 40°N latitude are particularly at risk for vitamin D deficiency from November to March. Research has shown those with low vitamin D levels are more likely to contract influenza, while those with high vitamin D levels who do come down with the flu suffer for a shorter duration. People with low vitamin D levels are also more likely to experience upper respiratory infections, excessive daytime sleepiness, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, and certain types of cancer.

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Zinc

Zinc has been shown to reduce the duration of colds by several days. This mineral increases the amount of white blood cells that your body produces, so that you have a stronger “army” to fight illness and infection. Zinc also lowers the incidence of diarrhea by more than 25% and lower respiratory infections by 45%.

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Vitamin C

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Vitamin C has long been one of the most popular immune supplements — and for good reason! Vitamin C is anti-inflammatory, antioxidant rich, and has antibiotic properties as well. Vitamin C is needed for iron absorption, collagen formation, wound healing, and combating free radicals. This vitamin is particularly important to take (or increase) at the first sign of a cold; it can often completely knock the illness right out of your system, but at the very least can usually lessen the severity and duration of colds. Studies have found it may even reduce the risk of complications such as pneumonia or bronchitis.

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Probiotics

Good health starts in the gut, which is why probiotics are so important in supporting the immune system. More than 70% of your body’s immune cells reside in the gastrointestinal tract. Probiotics keep the digestive system functioning optimally and aid in preventing infection and reducing inflammation. A study in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport found that taking a probiotic reduced the incidence of colds and stomach bugs by 40%!

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Adaptogens

perfect_acai_reviveAs their name implies, adaptogens help your body adapt to stress, both physical and mental. Many of these herbs grow at high altitudes or in cold, desolate climates like Siberia, and have been used for centuries in these regions to help inhabitants survive the harsh conditions. Adaptogens help regulate body systems including blood pressure, heart rate, metabolism, cortisol, energy levels, and more. Supporting the body in adapting to stress leaves it less susceptible to colds, flus, bronchitis, pneumonia, and other illnesses.

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Silver

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Silver has amazing potential in warding off all kinds of germs and bacteria. It is an excellent defense against bacterial, fungal, and viral infections, yet doesn’t attack healthy cells, making silver an ideal immune support supplement. In fact, silver has been used for its immune boosting and disease treating properties since ancient times.

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Support your immune system naturally with these and other immune boosters! Get 10% off until November 30, 2015 with coupon code: Ready4Winter

By Ali Wetherbee

The Best Supplements for Summer

 

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Summer is just around the corner and it’s time to get ready! We’ve rounded up the best summer supplements to get you looking and feeling your best this year.

Take 10% OFF these summer supplements from now until June 30 with coupon code: FunInTheSun

Summer Supplement #1: Adaptogens

As temperatures rise, our energy levels tend to fall, and we’re left slogging through the hottest days. We often experience this as the “summer blahs,” or perhaps an energy crash around 2 or 3pm. While caffeine might offer a bit of a pick-me-up, it’s usually short-lived, and may be accompanied by jitters, nervousness, and other adverse effects. To help the body naturally adapt to the physical stress of high temperatures, adaptogenic supplements such as Perfect Rhodiola and Perfect Cordyceps are great options that combat fatigue without leaving you overstimulated. These adaptogens normalize bodily imbalances, adrenal function, cortisol and other hormone levels, metabolic processes, and oxygen utilization — all physical effects of stress on the body. The result of this proper regulation caused by taking adaptogens like rhodiola rosea or cordyceps is that you feel less fatigued, calmer, more energized, and even generally healthier and happier.

Summer Supplement #2: Fermented Cod Liver Oil

Fermented cod liver oil is great for boosting energy, supporting bone health, and protecting against sun sensitivity. It is also an excellent source of vitamins A and D.

Vitamin A reduces signs of aging and may protect against skin cancer. One study found that those who took a vitamin A supplement daily were 60% less likely to develop melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer. Vitamin A also works to repair skin damaged due to sun exposure and aging.

In addition to supporting the immune system and keeping up energy, adequate vitamin D helps prevent abnormal cell growth, reducing your risk of developing certain types of cancer. Although the sun is the best source of vitamin D, most of us are at the office during the sunniest part of the day. Even if you are able to spend time outdoors, chances are you tend to stay in the shade or covered in sunblock on those bright sunny days. Unless you get a decent amount of sunshine each day (the exact time needed varies depending on geographical location, weather, skin type, etc.) you should continue taking a vitamin D supplement all summer long. Those with seasonal allergies or inflammatory conditions may benefit from taking a vitamin D supplement even if you get plenty of sun exposure, as vitamin D is highly anti-inflammatory. Fermented cod liver oil is an excellent food source of naturally-occurring vitamin D, and appears to work synergistically with the vitamin A in cod liver oil.

Summer Supplement #3: Astaxanthin

What could be better as we head into summer than edible sunscreen?! Astaxanthin acts as an internal sunscreen that scavenges free radicals and prevents ultraviolet damage, skin cancer, and other cancers as well. A powerful antioxidant-rich carotenoid, astaxanthin is an anti-inflammatory pain reliever and protects the eyes, heart, brain, and even the mitochondria. Astaxanthin also maintains skin’s moisture, smoothness, and elasticity, reducing wrinkles, sagging, and signs of aging or sun damage such as freckles, age spots, and sun spots. While you should still probably smear on some natural sunscreen for external protection against sunburn while astaxanthin levels begin to build up to therapeutic levels, many have found this supplement can reduce or eliminate their need for sunblock as well as allow them to stay out in the heat longer without feeling sick. Read more about astaxanthin here.

Summer Supplement #4: Vitamins C & E

Vitamin C and Vitamin E together protect against ultraviolet radiation and may reduce your likelihood of getting sunburned. What’s more, a 2005 study in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology found that combining vitamins C and E reduced DNA damage due to sun exposure.

Vitamin C supports your body with the stress of summer heat, lowering body temperature and preventing heat-related problems such as heat rash, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. This vitamin keeps the sweat glands functioning optimally on hot days so that they do not tire out too quickly. Since vitamin C is an anti-inflammatory antioxidant, it prevents and repairs sun damage by encouraging collagen production and tissue growth. Vitamins C and E both also act as a natural antihistamines, relieving symptoms of summer allergies, nasal symptoms, and asthma.

Summer Supplement #5: Weight Loss Supplements

Summer means shorts and bikinis, so now is the time to get into shape! If you’re looking for a little boost to your diet and exercise efforts, these four supplements can help you shed pounds more quickly yet naturally, without the dangers of traditional diet pills and stimulants.

Dr. Oz dubbed raspberry ketones “The Number One Miracle In A Bottle.” While no weight loss aid can totally overcome the effects of a poor diet and inactivity (sorry, you still have to eat healthy and exercise!),  Research suggests that raspberry ketones may increase levels of adiponectin, a protein found at higher levels in thinner people and known to play a key role in lipid and glucose metabolism.

Lite’N-Up is a great meal replacement, snack, or post-workout protein drink. Made with natural fat burners like CLA, green tea, and garcinia cambogia, Lite’N-Up is packed with protein, fiber, and nutrients. This weight loss supplement contains no sweeteners (although it does have a pleasant, naturally sweet vanilla taste!) and less lactose than whey concentrates. A Lite’N-Up shake stabilizes your blood sugar and satisfies your appetite, so you’re less likely to overeat. Studies have shown that adding whey protein to your diet can reduce body fat while retaining muscle mass, which translates to greater weight loss compared to those who used other types of protein powders or no protein supplement at all.

Dr. Oz has also recommended two other supplements, CLA and green coffee bean. Mercola CLA appears to shrink fat cells and increase metabolic rate. CLA occurs at highest levels in grass-fed dairy and meat, which may explain why modern diets are lacking in CLA and tend to lead to obesity. Perfect Green Coffee is 50% chlorogenic acid and is extracted from unroasted coffee beans. Green coffee lowers high blood pressure and blood glucose while boosting the metabolism. In Dr. Oz’s study of viewer volunteers, the group that took green coffee bean extract lost nearly twice as much weight as the placebo group.

Summer Supplement #6: Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a wonderful moisturizer, bug bite treatment, chapped lip remedy, and sunburn soother. It may even help you avoid burning. Coconut oil has an SPF around 8, so while it won’t do much to prevent sunburns during long days at the beach, it might be a good alternative to sunscreen for brief, indirect sun exposure. Some people have even found consuming coconut oil regularly leaves them less likely to burn in the first place. Another great use for coconut oil is for smoothing and moisturizing hair that becomes frizzy in the summer or damaged from pool chemicals; just rub a bit onto your strands in the morning. You can spread coconut oil on your armpits as a natural deodorant, and also use it as a shaving lotion to get your legs ready for shorts and swimsuits. This is truly a multipurpose summer supplement — it’s even great for grilling! Try Blue Breeze Coconut Oil or Perfect Coconut Oil.

Take 10% OFF these summer supplements with coupon code: FunInTheSun

By Ali Wetherbee